Boater missing in Roanoke River

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WILLIAMSTON – The focus of the search for a missing Martin County man has changed.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said the search for Quentin Andrews, 22, of Williamston has shifted from a rescue search to a recovery search.

“I’m still holding out hope, but the reality is that we’re on a recovery search at this point,” Sheriff Holley said.

Andrews went missing Saturday night after the boat in which he was fishing with three other men sank in the Roanoke River.

Sheriff Holley said his office received a call from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 10:06 p.m.

“We were alerted that four men had gone out fishing on the Roanoke River and that the boat sank,” Sheriff Holley said. “Three of the men were able to reach shore safely, but one had not.”

The sheriff immediately called the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the United States Coast Guard, the Harbor Patrol and the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

All of those agencies, along with the Bertie County Search and Rescue Team immediately began searching for Andrews.

According to information obtained by Sheriff Holley’s office, four men put the boat in the river from a dock in Williamston Saturday afternoon to go fishing. They traveled approximately one-half mile and began fishing.

“After a while it started getting dark and they decided to head back in,” Sheriff Holley said.

At that time, the sheriff said the men became aware that the steering on the boat was not working and they could not move forward. They reportedly decided to attempt to back the boat to the dock.

“The gentlemen said the boat started taking on water and within 25 seconds, it was under water,” Sheriff Holley said. “At that time, everyone began swimming. Three of them made it, but Mr. Andrews did not.”

Sheriff Holley said he was informed that Andrews could not swim.

Once on the water, the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies searched until 5 a.m. Sunday. They went back out at approximately 10:30 a.m. and searched for several more hours.

“After an extensive search, the other agencies suspended the search for a while,” Sheriff Holley said. “We went back out one more time Sunday afternoon in another attempt to locate Mr. Andrews.”

The Sheriff said Chief Deputy Greg Atkins spent more than three hours Sunday afternoon on the search, driving the sheriff’s office boat from Jamesville up the river to the scene of the accident.

“We found a gas tank and a cooler early in the day, but didn’t find anything new Sunday afternoon,” Sheriff Holley said.

The sheriff said he would likely have another boat back on the water during the day Monday, but the recovery effort will begin in earnest on Tuesday.